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Intellectual Ventures Tied To 1,300 Shell Companies

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the such-pretty-shells dept.

Patents 140

dgharmon writes "New research (PDF) shows that Intellectual Ventures is tied to at least 1,300 shell companies whose sole purpose is to coerce real companies into buying patent license that they don't want or need. Those who resist the 'patent trolls' are dragged into nightmarish lawsuits."

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Ah yes, the American dream... (4, Interesting)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 2 years ago | (#40966501)

It is strange but many IT entrepreneurs in France don't see the silicon valley as a dreamland. This is a place where you go to get investors, but you certainly don't open a company there. Software patents is really a strategical consideration that make our (moderately) higher tax rates seem a worthy cost.

Re:Ah yes, the American dream... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40966581)

I would think IT entreprenuers would go to Asia for precisely those reasons and for the cheaper labor. Also, for the "access" to other companies technology and innovation in order to have a "look" - shall we say.

Intellectual bondage? (1)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 2 years ago | (#40966637)

It says they're "tied to at least" blah-blah companies.
They're asking for it, so who brought the whip?

Re:Ah yes, the American dream... (0)

yincrash (854885) | more than 2 years ago | (#40966843)

Except if your company actually becomes successful, there is nothing stopping China from just taking it and making it state owned.

Re:Ah yes, the American dream... (1)

loneDreamer (1502073) | more than 2 years ago | (#40967239)

There is other countries in Asia apart from China...

Re:Ah yes, the American dream... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40967299)

You mean how like how in the US the government can take away your business and give the property to some mega-corp with deep government ties via eminent domain?

Re:Ah yes, the American dream... (1)

The Snowman (116231) | more than 2 years ago | (#40968845)

You mean how like how in the US the government can take away your business and give the property to some mega-corp with deep government ties via eminent domain?

How often does this really happen, though?

Re:Ah yes, the American dream... (4, Interesting)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#40968179)

I built my first company in the Silicon Valley, sold it, build my second company in Silicon Valley, sold it, and build my third company in Asia
 
Why?
 
Not because of "cheaper labor", hacking cost is universal, whether it's in Silicon Valley or in Asia
 
I built my third company in Asia because I could plenty of talents in Asia, while on the other hand, the younger batch who moved to Silicon Valley are there not because of their interest in hacking but because of money - Technology do not progress because of money, technology progress because of people who want to do something different
 

Re:Ah yes, the American dream... (0, Troll)

fm6 (162816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40969023)

And of course in Asia, your female employees can't sue you. Judging from your previously expressed complaints about "political correctness", that must have been an issue.

As a tech writer, I've collaborated with developers in China, Japan, South America, India, and Russia. And yes, they all were driven by a desire to create and innovate. But so have most of the hackers I've worked with in Silicon Valley. If you couldn't find anybody with that ethic in the U.S., I think you probably have issues that go beyond geography.

Re:Ah yes, the American dream... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40971015)

The GP is right. People flock to Silicon Valley from India/China/elsewhere in Asia because of the money, not because of the job(s).

The job is the means to the end and that end is money.

Re:Ah yes, the American dream... (4, Insightful)

Daetrin (576516) | more than 2 years ago | (#40966589)

Don't worry, with today's globalization if you don't come to the patent infringement lawsuits, the patent infringement lawsuits will come to you. After all, the fact that neither Samsung nor Apple is a French company hasn't stopped them from suing each other in France [mashable.com] (along with everywhere else.)

Re:Ah yes, the American dream... (0)

kthreadd (1558445) | more than 2 years ago | (#40967111)

But they make business in France, that's why.

Re:Ah yes, the American dream... (2)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 2 years ago | (#40967951)

Yes, it would be good if you kept your hobbyists on your side of the Atlantic, but as much as I find these lawsuits frivolous, it is worth noticing that these were about design patents, not software patents which are still illegal and untested in France.

Re:Ah yes, the American dream... (2)

Splab (574204) | more than 2 years ago | (#40969749)

But those aren't *software* patents.

1300 shell companies (1)

billstewart (78916) | more than 2 years ago | (#40970561)

1300 shell companies all tangled up in a maze of twisty little patent lawsuits sounds like a plot device from Charlie Stross's Accelerando.

Re:Ah yes, the American dream... (4, Funny)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#40966819)

It is strange but many IT entrepreneurs in France don't see the silicon valley as a dreamland.

Ah yes, France, the Mecca of fine IT judgement.

Re:Ah yes, the American dream... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40967273)

You don't understand. Europeans have a mission from god to let everybody else know what they do, and why what other countries are doing is wrong.

Re:Ah yes, the American dream... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40970627)

You don't understand. Europeans have a mission from god to let everybody else know what they do, and why what other countries are doing is wrong.

Well at least we don't use that viewpoint as a pretense to invade other countries.

Re:Ah yes, the American dream... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40966865)

Well... not sure about France but I can say that I was thinking about trying to launch a software company and I was definitelly looking for other jurisdictions...

Re:Ah yes, the American dream... (0)

Ryanrule (1657199) | more than 2 years ago | (#40968443)

Yes, it sucks to pay people what they are worth, and to pay taxes that support those people through infrastructure, education, and safety.

Re:Ah yes, the American dream... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40967041)

There is no relation whatsoever between tax rates and software patents. If you want to talk about higher tax rates, you could point out that you can focus on running your business instead of providing health care for your employees.

Personally, I wouldn't start a company in Silicon Valley unless I was trying to raise VC lucre and sell out as soon as possible. High cost of living, terrible state bureaucracy, etc.

Re:Ah yes, the American dream... (1)

kenorland (2691677) | more than 2 years ago | (#40968619)

And that's why France has such a thriving startup business culture, right?

Re:Ah yes, the American dream... (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 2 years ago | (#40968641)

Well Duh. French citizens probably want to work in France. No surprise. But certainly it is a nice place to work too if you're American. Cost of living is high, but it's also high in a lot of areas with a booming economy. Weather is nice, the region is great, etc. You just have to put up with the militant cyclists and occasional hipsters from SF (though they rarely venture outside their safety zone).

Re:Ah yes, the American dream... (3, Interesting)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | more than 2 years ago | (#40968723)

It is strange but many IT entrepreneurs in France don't see the silicon valley as a dreamland.

I live in Silicon Valley, and I know about a dozen current or former French citizens working here. Starting an IT business in France will give you plenty of bureaucracy and taxes, but no protection from patent lawsuits. You can be sued anywhere you do business, and for most IT companies that means worldwide from the very beginning. I started my first company more than twenty years ago, and was surprised when I announced my first product and my first five orders were all from outside the USA.

Re:Ah yes, the American dream... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40971433)

It is strange but many IT entrepreneurs in France don't see the silicon valley as a dreamland. This is a place where you go to get investors, but you certainly don't open a company there. Software patents is really a strategical consideration that make our (moderately) higher tax rates seem a worthy cost.

I have a IT company in France, and I have one in the UK too. And much as I love the place, I have to correct you.

The only reason my IT company in France is still open, is that its the only legal way for me to be resident here and work from home as it takes on subcon work from the UK company so that I can do the labor side of it. Nobody in their right mind would *choose* to base in the sprawling mess of legislation, visits to the chambiers du metiers, social taxes, rules around business operation and employment and finally having a french accountant (in reality, they really work for the state, at your cost and to your detriment).
I'd close the French SARL in a flash and get my business out of dodge if I found a viable legal alternative. Of course we're talking smaller startups here, not large companies, but from little seedlings mighty oaks grow. The culture is terrible too, I know all about the weeks in august where almost nothing gets done because whole companies pont their holidays to those weeks and it lets you take 4 days off and get 3 weeks holidays. Great for staff, terrible for the companies and a hidden cost. God help me when we have a infrastructure issue in that period because we work uk holidays. Skeleton staff if we're lucky...

I worked in Sophia Antipolis too for a while for a exceedingly well known french company, and... I still wouldn't choose to work for a french company, in France, given the choice. Cutting through the middle management and chinese walls everyone erects to protect their little cozy corner of the business, sorry, I'd rather be flayed to death by scented bootlaces or take up a role as corporate snowball juggler through hell. Which is probably why I work for my own company taking consulting work from other countries...

and this surprises (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40966511)

who?

Re:and this surprises (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40966683)

what?

Re:and this surprises (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40966721)

i don't know

Re:and this surprises (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40967169)

naturally

FTFA (4, Funny)

Daetrin (576516) | more than 2 years ago | (#40966525)

Patent trolling took off after the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office began issuing a flood of questionable âoebusiness methodâ patents related to things like software and, believe it or not, a crustless peanut butter and jelly sandwich. In 2006, lawyers used such a patent to threaten Research in Motion with an injunction against the BlackBerry and extract a $612 million payout.

Well that's clearly why the BlackBerry has been having trouble in the market, RIM spent too much of their product development time working on sandwiches, and patent infringing sandwiches at that.

Re:FTFA (3, Funny)

game kid (805301) | more than 2 years ago | (#40966559)

I agree. They should've used ice cream instead of peanut butter and jelly, before Google could've caught on to that idea.

Re:FTFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40966947)

> Patent trolling took off after the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office began issuing a flood of questionable âoebusiness methodâ patents related to things like software and, believe it or not, a crustless peanut butter and jelly sandwich. In 2006, lawyers used such a patent to threaten Research in Motion with an injunction against the BlackBerry and extract a $612 million payout.

I can't post a simple (cent symbol) which is in fact part of US English normal symbol set and yet this quote has a lot of accented chars... why? Because it's quoted text?

Re:FTFA (5, Interesting)

Smallpond (221300) | more than 2 years ago | (#40967743)

Patent trolling took off after the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office began issuing a flood of questionable âoebusiness methodâ patents related to things like software and, believe it or not, a crustless peanut butter and jelly sandwich. In 2006, lawyers used such a patent to threaten Research in Motion with an injunction against the BlackBerry and extract a $612 million payout.

Well that's clearly why the BlackBerry has been having trouble in the market, RIM spent too much of their product development time working on sandwiches, and patent infringing sandwiches at that.

Blackberry is an obvious mistake. The crustless PB&J uses strawberry.

Anyway, why hasn't someone pointed out that Intellectual Ventures was founded by the ex-CTO of Microsoft Nathan Myhrvold and still partners with Microsoft on patent deals. Are all the MS haters asleep?

Re:FTFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40970639)

Anyway, why hasn't someone pointed out that Intellectual Ventures was founded by the ex-CTO of Microsoft Nathan Myhrvold and still partners with Microsoft on patent deals. Are all the MS haters asleep?

Because that's assumed public knowledge around here, I guess

What happened to the days of hitmen? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40966565)

This is one person who actually does deserve to die. Painfully.

You know there is an obvious failure in society when shit people like him can get away with doing so much damage to thousands, possibly even millions of people through the effort that actual decent people were putting in to help the poor.

Funny how regulators and law get involved when a company is copying other people, but when it is a BLATANTLY obvious troll like this, HE GETS AWAY WITH IT. IN A COURTROOM. WHY?! ARE THESE PEOPLE STUPID? Every single one of those judges should be locked up for being clinically unstable.

Re:What happened to the days of hitmen? (4, Funny)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 2 years ago | (#40966603)

Dude, put down the whiskey now, and stay out of Colorado, k?

Re:What happened to the days of hitmen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40966969)

Hey you, around here we get drunk on one thing and one thing only, water.

And blackjack.

Re:What happened to the days of hitmen? (3, Insightful)

ocean_soul (1019086) | more than 2 years ago | (#40966633)

The trolls very rarely get away with this stuff in a courtroom. Most of the time they settle out of court, because the defendant does not have the resources (in case of a small company) or it's just cheaper for them (in case of larger companies defending). Patent trolls are, most of the time, very scared of actually having to go to court. If this happens they will probably lose. And if they lose a dangerous, at least for them, precedent would be set.

Re:What happened to the days of hitmen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40966709)

The trolls very rarely get away with this stuff in a courtroom. Most of the time they settle out of court, because the defendant does not have the resources (in case of a small company) or it's just cheaper for them (in case of larger companies defending). Patent trolls are, most of the time, very scared of actually having to go to court. If this happens they will probably lose. And if they lose a dangerous, at least for them, precedent would be set.

Funny, these guys [macnews.com] don't seem scared.

Re:What happened to the days of hitmen? (3, Informative)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 2 years ago | (#40966765)

Apple is one of the few patent trolls that actually produces a product. They don't have to live in fear. They have lots of money, lots of patents, and a huge market with an actual profit margin. They're a beast.

Re:What happened to the days of hitmen? (4, Informative)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#40966935)

In the usual parlance, the fact that Apple makes competing products clears the of the trolling charge. They only sue direct competitors AFAICT. When you competewith Apple you know you're competimg and you know you could be sued. Trolls lie in wait with patents you don't expect because they don't make a product you could compete with.

Re:What happened to the days of hitmen? (5, Insightful)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 2 years ago | (#40967783)

I believe having a portfolio full of bullshit obvious, vague and simple patents and using them to intimidate and vanquish competition qualifies as trolling as well.

Re:What happened to the days of hitmen? (2)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 2 years ago | (#40968899)

People believe all sorts of things.

Patent troll is a pejorative term used for a person or company who enforces patents against one or more alleged infringers in a manner considered aggressive or opportunistic with no intention to manufacture or market the patented invention.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patent_troll [wikipedia.org]

Re:What happened to the days of hitmen? (4, Informative)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 2 years ago | (#40969823)

Fine, Apple is a patent douche, happy now?

Re:What happened to the days of hitmen? (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#40968909)

We don't have a good term for what Apple does. As you point out, it isn't QUITE trolling since they are producing products. However, they certainly do seem to be employing the same sleezy tactics.

Re:What happened to the days of hitmen? (2)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 2 years ago | (#40970377)

We don't have a good term for what Apple does. As you point out, it isn't QUITE trolling since they are producing products. However, they certainly do seem to be employing the same sleezy tactics.

Those sleazy tactics involve weaving a collection of questionable or down right bogus patents into a lawsuit, then casting it any and all opponents in the hopes to hamper them or catch a few who are unable to litigate, thus netting huge settlements. Sounds pretty much like the definition of trolling to me -- Drag-Net is another name for trolling too. Have you ever even been fishing before? Or has the Internet leached away all other reality leaving only it's pedantically demented definition of "troll" in tact and removing any connection to its basis in the aforementioned fishing acts?

Re:What happened to the days of hitmen? (2)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 2 years ago | (#40969997)

It IS trolling when apple sues people for making products in markets where apple isn't.

For example the $200 tablet is not competing with the $600 tablet. If I want to buy a google nexus 7 there is NO WAY I am going to end up with an ipad, and vice versa.

Re:What happened to the days of hitmen? (5, Informative)

andydread (758754) | more than 2 years ago | (#40966743)

Yep .. See Oracle vs Google. If Oracle had asked for a reasonable ransom maybe Google would have just payed it and be done with it. However Oracle asked for billions of dollars and so Google told them to go fuck sand. So the sued and many of their patents got re-examined and thrown out by the USPTO while other patents were found by the jury NOT to have been infringed by Google. This is the nightmare scenario that trolls fear. Also, see Judge Willian Alsup and Judge Richard Posner. Its mostly in the Eastern District of Texas they can consistently get a away with this crap.

Re:What happened to the days of hitmen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40968153)

One fraction of man-eating lizards demands from another faction of man-eating lizards billions of
snakes on a stick ($). Usually they throw each other a bone when something like that comes up,
but not when one side gets too greedy. The lizards took the matter before another group of
man-eating lizards who arbitrate and mediate between factions. This time around these black robed arbitrators
slapped one faction around the ears and told them to go 'fuck sand' (borrowing that from the above post).

The lizards use snakes on a stick as a unit of exchange to acquire supplies and slave labor. This
ensures that only the most successful projects for managing livestock on the planet are continued and
those that do not produce results are rapidly terminated. For this reason there is strong competition
between projects with the goal of acquiring as many snakes on a stick exchange units as possible.

Re:What happened to the days of hitmen? (5, Interesting)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#40968283)

Also, see Judge Willian Alsup and Judge Richard Posner.

Yes, these two are amazing. Any judge who learns to program Java for a trial deserves credit.

Re:What happened to the days of hitmen? (1)

Maow (620678) | more than 2 years ago | (#40970209)

Also, see Judge Willian Alsup and Judge Richard Posner.

Yes, these two are amazing. Any judge who learns to program Java for a trial deserves credit.

I seem to recall that the judge had learned Java previously for reasons unrelated to the trial, perhaps as a hobby.

Did you hear otherwise, and if so, have you got a link? That would be quite a feat and a sign of being dedicated to his job.

Re:What happened to the days of hitmen? (3, Informative)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#40970439)

I think he programmed previously as a hobby, but he learned Java for the trial.

Re:What happened to the days of hitmen? (1)

realisticradical (969181) | more than 2 years ago | (#40967047)

Actually, I think this situation is pretty clear evidence against the existence of corporate hit men who take out people who harm the big businesses. I'm sure there are plenty of execs who wish they had the ability to get rid of this guy. But since he's still around it's pretty clear that they don't.

Re:What happened to the days of hitmen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40968189)

They don't whack each other, they just whack little munchkins like yourself nobody has ever heard of (and then will never hear of again).

But Nathan says... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40966573)

Clearly, this is God's work.

Re:But Nathan says... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40966807)

Fuck Nathan and his buddies Balmer and Elop. These asshats know exactly what they are doing. This is a systemic campaign to abuse the system to destroy any FOSS competition in the market.

nightmarish lawsuits (2)

fustakrakich (1673220) | more than 2 years ago | (#40966593)

Ahhh... The system works, perfectly. It actually runs itself. Who could ask for more?

Look people, this is Corporatism at its finest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40966601)

First you write the laws. Then you exploit the laws to punish others.

This is why anarchy is best. Down with false property!

that's 1300x the job creation! (4, Funny)

Trepidity (597) | more than 2 years ago | (#40966617)

Intellectual Ventures are true American heroes!

Re:that's 1300x the job creation! (1)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 2 years ago | (#40966779)

You're a master of spin. You should be in politics.

Re:that's 1300x the job creation! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40967151)

He should be working for Intellectual Ventures!

You're hired! No, not you, Trepidity!
Hell, you're hired as well, you pointed out great genius, you must be one of them too!
Threegether we could rule the universe!

Re:that's 1300x the job creation! (1)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 2 years ago | (#40967767)

and be crowned King Nothing!

Re:that's 1300x the job creation! (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | more than 2 years ago | (#40966861)

If they make lots of money for their clients, then they certainly are.

Re:that's 1300x the job creation! (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 2 years ago | (#40967609)

their clients

Who??

mod D0wn (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40966699)

Patent Trolls (3, Insightful)

NonSenseAgency (1759800) | more than 2 years ago | (#40966817)

Sounds like a clear case for the application of the Rico Act.

I would like second to this. (4, Insightful)

boorack (1345877) | more than 2 years ago | (#40970975)

There are already laws in place to deal with those crooks. The problem is selective application of laws - ordinary people will be jailed for years for having a little bit of marijuana in possesion, while crooky ruling elite is clearly above the law and they can do whatever they want. And if they break laws (stealing billions in the process), enforcement officials will cover it up (instead of doing what they're supposed to do) or some law retroactively legalizing criminal ruling crooks' behavior will be passed.

Wake up folks, 2012 US of A is a two-tiered society, pretty much like medieval Europe. Technology and cheap energy is the only thing keeping standard of live relatively high but if it ends, you'll get back into dark ages sooner than you think.

hey now (1, Offtopic)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#40966831)

tied to at least 1,300 shell companies

Hey now, don't forget corporations are people! This story is racist.

Re:hey now (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#40966923)

So? Soylent Green is people, too, but I don't hear anyone campaigning for its rights.

Re:hey now (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#40967799)

You're right, we really need to start a campaign for the protection of soylents.

Re:hey now (3, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#40968315)

I'm more leaning towards mincing corporations to feed the hungry.

Re:hey now (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#40968463)

No doubt that will be effective.

nightmarish lawsuits? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40966895)

Perhaps Kafka needs to assert his IP at this point???
The Trial [wikipedia.org]

Oh wait....

Wow... Organized Crime? (5, Insightful)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 2 years ago | (#40966925)

This sounds *exactly* like how organized crime (mobs) operate. Where the hell is the FBI I'm paying for? Will they please focus on relevant issues?!?!?!

Re:Wow... Organized Crime? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40967081)

Nope, too busy working for the MPAA/RIAA raiding foreign websites on controversial and/or illegal grounds.

FBI (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40967107)

We are busy investigating more cases of who stole naked pictures from a fellow American citizen.

Re:Wow... Organized Crime? (3, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#40968317)

To point out the obvious, the FBI investigates crimes. Smart criminals decide to not break the law, because then they get the police on their side.

What these guys are doing is not illegal, just anti-social.

Re:Wow... Organized Crime? (4, Informative)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 2 years ago | (#40968701)

It is illegal to conspire or collude for the purpose of extortion, and it is also illegal to burden the courts with persistent unreasonable litigation.

The real Mob conducts their 'crime' in similar ways that, on the surface, appear legal. What you see in movies/HBO is not what really goes down.

This documentary will stream on netflix. You will see why it was hard for the FBI to crack down on the Mob -- that they conducted themselves very much within the scheme of what has the appearance of legal activity.

http://www.cnbc.com/id/43392317/?__source=vty [cnbc.com] |mobmoney|&par=vty

If you don't watch it to learn what I mean, I'll give you a breakdown of one example given in the film.

1) Dude1: decides to build a new construction in a place with mob influence.

2) Wiseguy1/Wiseguy2 stop by and have a casual conversation about how Dude1 *will* buy his concrete from "Legit Company A", a company that charges about $1/cu.ft. over normal market prices.

If Dude1 agrees, life goes on as normal and it would appear that Dude1 isn't a good shopper.

If Dude1 disagrees....

3) Deliveries from various orders needed for the business never come.
4) Protests/Picket-lines show up at the build site.

If Dude1 still disagrees.....

5) Wiseguy1/Wiseguy2 have a physical intervention that changes Dude1's mind, or ends Dude1.

---------

It isn't a reach to say that the topic at hand follows these same 'on paper' techniques to extort money. It is very much the same a minor difference being that the lawyers don't actually do physical intimidation, but rather legal.

I hope this has been informative.

Re:Wow... Organized Crime? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#40968867)

The real Mob conducts their 'crime' in similar ways that, on the surface, appear legal.

You're saying that the Mafia doesn't kill people, doesn't sell drugs, and doesn't destroy property to intimidate people? Right.

Re:Wow... Organized Crime? (1)

ByronHope (2669333) | more than 2 years ago | (#40971183)

The lawyers do use physical intimidation, if you don't act as directed by a court the Police will physically take action. The Law is the ultimate form of physical intimidation.

Re:Wow... Organized Crime? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40968611)

"Sounds like" organized crime? If it walk like a duck and talks like a duck...

Most of organized crime is oriented around finding legal loopholes to 'legitimize' their scams. Have no doubt the mafia are chest deep in the IP muck.

Shell companies (4, Funny)

machine321 (458769) | more than 2 years ago | (#40966951)

Summary is wrong, it's actually 1300 Exxon-Mobile companies,.

I don't understand (5, Insightful)

Crypto Gnome (651401) | more than 2 years ago | (#40966981)

why anyone is complaining so loudly.

This behaviour is the natural and logical outcome of the current patent system.

Did anybody seriously expect anything different?

Re:I don't understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40970829)

Why on earth would that be a reason not to complain? No matter if I saw it coming or not, I can still be unhappy about it. If the only reaction to being unhappy about something is just to accept it as the natural state of things then nothing will ever improve, things improve when enough people make it clear they don't consider it acceptable. Complaining is part of that process.

They claim to fight parasites? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#40967011)

(if you don't get it, RTFA)

Now that's rich... but hey, I have a proposal, why not cut out the middle man? Instead of siphoning away money from real companies to fight mosquitos, just shut down and presto, one of the biggest parasites of today instantly wiped out.

Give IV a break. (3, Informative)

sconeu (64226) | more than 2 years ago | (#40967045)

They're doing G-d's Work [geekwire.com] .

Re:Give IV a break. (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 2 years ago | (#40968995)

Dammit. Someone took me seriously. I was going for "Funny".

If you pay one, the rest come knockin' (5, Insightful)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#40967069)

That makes the right strategy "All my wealth for defence, not one dime for tribute." Pay the danegeld and you'll never get rid of the Dane.

So easy (4, Insightful)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | more than 2 years ago | (#40967175)

When congress finally crafts a law to eliminate patent abuse an easy measure of success is if companies like this are destroyed. Not hurt but close up shop like most of the buggy whip companies. When a company exists only to sue vibrant and healthy companies they are a parasite, that is they provide no value to society while simultaneously damaging it.

The politicians blah blah about cutting red tape and creating jobs but what about protecting us from evil like this? I can't imagine the flowering of new developments that would take place without bloodsuckers like these.

One of the things that hold third world countries back is that if you have the slightest bit of success some Mr Big / Warlord / Village chief / Crimelord / Well connected bureaucrat will come along and take whatever you have. There are few property rights in these countries. Yet in the western world the bloodsuckers have perverted the very thing that use to make us successful (property rights) where they do the very thing that those property rights were supposed to prevent.

My suggestions for IP reform are to significantly raise the bar as to what an invention really is. If someone invents a cool new battery don't let someone patent the use of that battery in everything. Shorten the life of a patent from 20 years to 10 years after the first significant use of that product. (or 20 years whichever comes first)

Software patents; how about no. Change the lifetimes for different categories of patent. Drug patents, 10 years. Material patents 15 years. Electronic patents 5 years.

Limit the damages to a tiny percentage of the wholesale value of a product.

Only allow the original inventors or companies that are implementing the product to launch a lawsuit. If you are sitting on a stack of patents they all you are doing is holding back the progress of humanity.

If a company has more than 30% of a market then make the licensing of their patents mandatory for a nominal cost.

Don't let universities charge too much for patents. Yet don't let their professors hive of some research to create a company and then patent the crap out of it.

Have an independent government department for patent invalidation. Having the patent office invalidate a patent is having them say they were wrong. Also judges need to be able to invalidate a patent.

Again raise the bar for what gets patented. I'm looking at you one-click-purchase!

If a suit asks for one amount and wins a much lower amount then the difference should be deducted from the awarded amount. So if they ask for a billion and win 100 million then you subtract 900 million resulting in 0 (zero dollars). This should be for all lawsuits.

Lastly if a lawfirm sues for a patent that later becomes invalidated then they can be hit with treble damages. (That is treble what they demanded.)

Re:So easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40967455)

So if they ask for a billion and win 100 million then you subtract 900 million resulting in 0 (zero dollars).

The point of a civil suit (in most countries) is a to undo a civil injustice. Saying "you're a greedy shit, you get nothing" is not the domain of judges. Yes, Johnathan Swift noticed 400 years ago, this incites greedy lawyers.

Re:So easy (1)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | more than 2 years ago | (#40969221)

The point is to make them ask for what might actually be a reasonable amount, instead of abusing the system. If a company worth 10 million is being sued for 1 billion then any sale in progress will collapse. But if they are being sued for $500,000 then the value of the company drops during litigation but can still go through. Also the big number impress the jury. They feel bad knocking 300 million down to the actual value of $30,000 so they don't and knock it down to a few million. But if it had started $50,000 they are more likely to hit the $30,000 that would fit the damages calculated.

The big number lawsuits just create unnecessary stress.

This also can destroy other financing. If your bank sees your tiny company being sued for a billion then your line of credit can dry up fast.

Shut down east texas (1)

Ryanrule (1657199) | more than 2 years ago | (#40967553)

Problem solved. Many problems solved.

Might wanna go ahead to take out west texas too. Maybe flood the state, keep the big cities above water?

Re:Shut down east texas (1)

redneckmother (1664119) | more than 2 years ago | (#40969247)

Problem solved. Many problems solved.

Might wanna go ahead to take out west texas too. Maybe flood the state, keep the big cities above water?

If you flood Texas, many of the big metro areas will inundate first. That might be a Real Good Thing (tm).

Fortunately, I live at a relatively high altitude in a sparsely populated area.

Bring it on!

Corporate reproduction (4, Interesting)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | more than 2 years ago | (#40968801)

If corporations were people, it would take 9 months of effort and hundreds of pounds of input to create one and you wouldn't be finished until you had successfully pushed a watermelon through a garden hose.

Instead we have this company spawning 1300 "children" in a year or two. Ridiculous.

Sounds like Charlie Stross got it right in Accelerando--as a reaction to those 1300 corporations, useful corporations with actual products are going to have to react defensively, and in an exactly reciprocal fashion. Samsung is going to have to spawn 1300 child corporations and use them to hide their assets. "Oh, you were trying to sue for infringement of your phone interface? I'm sorry, Samsung Electronics 867 doesn't produce that phone. Try Samsung Electronics 335." *ring* "Samsung Electronics 335. Oh, no, you can't sue us for that phone interface. We sold it yesterday. To whom? Call back tomorrow." *ring* "Samsung Electronics 335. Yes, we sold that phone interface to Samsung Electronics 779." *ring* "Samsung Electronics 779. Oh no, you can't sue us for that phone interface. We sold it yesterday. To whome? Call back tomorrow..."

fp" shbit (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40968821)

Patent Troll-a-rama (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40968913)

Intellectual Ventures is a clearing house of patent troll-dom. They aren't the only ones mind you, but they are among the worst. Rat Bastards!

1300+ shell companies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40969081)

Get them from tax evasion.

Reply to it (-1)

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